Goondu review: Honor View 20

February 6th, 2019 | by Wilson Wong
Goondu review: Honor View 20

2018 can be said to be the year of the notch, an attempt by phone manufacturers to maximise the screen size while keeping the bezel and size of the phone small.

This year will see more phones adopting the pinhole-in-the-screen design and the Honor View 20 is the first phone this year to sport the look.

The new phone from Huawei’s sub-brand sports many features of a true flagship phone. It has a 6.4-inch Full HD+ LCD screen that takes up about 85.7 per cent of the screen real estate, 8GB of RAM and a 4,000mAh battery.

Powered by the same Kirin 980 chip in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Honor View 20 is no slouch when it comes to performance as well. Certainly, you don’t feel that for day-to-day activities such as updating your Facebook status or uploading images to Instagram.

For heavy lifting, the View 20 has its own liquid cooling system to ensure that the Kirin 980 works at peak performance without over heating. From my tests, I can say that playing Asphalt 9 and photo editing with the View 20 is a breeze.

Interesting design for the glass back with the chevron-inspired look. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Flip the phone over and you’d see that Honor has introduced the subtle chevron design on the back cover. It changes colour as you move the phone against the light.

For those who are always lamenting about the lack of storage space, the Honor View 20’s humongous 256GB internal capacity will last you for quite some time. For most users, that means you won’t have to expand the storage with a microSD or Huawei’s NanoSD card.

The Honor View 20’s camera “hole” on the top left of the screen seems to be the alternative that many phone makers have chosen over the commonly seen notch in 2018.

On the new phone, it takes up much lesser space and is a more eye-pleasing design. Information such as the signal strength is now pushed towards the centre as the front-facing camera hole takes up some space at the upper left corner of the screen.

The first punch hole screen I have seen this year and thankfully the experience with it is a positive one as it does not obstruct me as I read texts or watch movies on the 6.4-inch LCD screen. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
A black bar hides the hole so it would not distract while watching a show on Netflix. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

My experience with the punch-hole screen is a pleasant one. During regular usage in both vertical and horizontal orientations, the camera hole gets out of the way while reading what is on the screen. You get a black bar at the top while watching videos so the hole doesn’t get in the way.

For those who want a good camera, the View 20 has the highest megapixel count with the Sony IMX 586 48-megapixel sensor. That’s 8MP more than the Mate 20 Pro’s.

The secondary camera is a Time-of-Flight (ToF) 3D sensor that works together to create a more accurate bokeh effect for portraits. The front facing camera has 25 megapixels to capture your selfies, which are more than enough for most situations.

An 48-megapixel camera and a 3D ToF camera work together to get your favourite shots for the View 20. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
The 25-megapixel front-facing camera certainly has a lot of data to work with but how the smartphone processes your images is also important. Here, the skin has that artificial look that I am not a fan of. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s portrait modes are also in the View 20, which is a surprise. Here you can see the swirly bokeh but the subject extraction is not as accurate.. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
The Honor View 20 hás inherited the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s Night Scene mode too. The difference is in the way the colour, contrast and sharpness are processed. Some may prefer this look but I find it a tad too sharp with colours bordering on being over saturated. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
Honor View 20’s editing can be quite aggressive as it over-sharpens to the point that the dark skies are peppered with dots. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

For users who love saturated colours, the View 20 captures vivid images best suited for landscapes and objects such as flowers.

When it comes to portraits that often use a shallow depth of field, the View 20 does not perform as well as I have hoped for. I am a fan of a more natural hue for my images, so I’m not crazy about the aggressive fashion that the View 20 processes images.

Perhaps a bigger kink in the View 20 is its face unlock feature. Without a notch to hold a 3D face recognition system, the phone does not work as consistently as, say, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, especially in poor light conditions.

I would rather rely on the fingerprint sensor located at the back to unlock the phone. It is faster and more secure.

There is an infrared blaster so you can use a remote controller app to control your TV, set-top box and air conditioner. The presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack is certainly welcome. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
The View 20’s audio is quite disappointing as it has only one down-firing speaker should you decide not to use the headphones. I can easily muffle it with my finger and I might miss calls if putting the phone in my pocket. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Costing S$829, the View 20 is priced more like a flagship phone than a budget model the Honor brand is known for. Then again, flagship phone prices have pushed past S$1,000 in the past couple of years, led by the Apple iPhone.

That makes the View 20 value for money, actually, since it has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space and is being powered by a flagship Kirin 980 chipset.

There’s also an option for a cheaper S$699 model, which has 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage, so Honor is still coming up with phones for more budget-conscious users. Don’t fret, bargain hunters.

What will disappoint some users is that the View 20 isn’t simply a cut-price version of a Huawei Mate 20, despite a highly similar spec sheet. For me, the image quality on the Mate 20 is still superior.

That’s not to slight the Honor View 20 at all. A well made phone with a bountiful of flagship performance and features without making you break the bank, it is a welcome alternative to increasingly expensive flagship models.


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